A whining wimp copulates with a monkey, then he winds a clock. That's all there is to "Mainspring." It's nothing more than adolescent religious allegory with a steampunk veneer. This book is awful, just awful.
This one lost me. The history and the writing are fine, but the story just plods along. At fault is Liss's decision to split the narrative between two protagonists. Alternating with each chapter, events in each plot are separated by some years. It's distracting. Yes, the two characters do meet eventually, but by the time they did I'd lost interest.
Some fifteen years ago, I read Cornwell's origial Sharpe series in a mad, compulsive rush. Disappointment with a Sharpe "prequel" written to support the television series kept me from trying the India novels that Cornwell wrote during the late 1990s.
Now I'm glad that I waited for this fine audio version, instead. The narration is first-rate, one of the best I've heard, and a perfect complement to what turns out to be vintage Richard Sharpe. This is a story filled with rich characters, exotic locales, fast-moving action, and riveting historical detail.
My loss -- I didn't realize how much I missed marching with Sharpe. If you're a fan, treat yourself to this listen. And if you're not yet a fan, after hearing this you will be!
I made it through an hour or so of this one before I quit out of boredom. The plot, while intriguing, just took too long to get started. Too much expository dialogue setting up the premise -- the author tells his story almost as a series of business meetings. That's hardly compelling drama, and disaster for space opera. Give this "asteroid" a miss.
Set in the Solomons during mid-1943, this novel is populated with some notorious WWII characters, including an AWOL Marine lieutenant named David Armistead; a Navy PT boat skipper named Jack Kennedy; a Navy supply officer named "Nick" Nixon; and a Navy historian named Jim Michener. The story begins on Tulagi and heads north in a Catalina, looking for trouble.
Hickam is a very funny writer, combining inventive storytelling with a keen eye for characterization and detail. This novel is the second in Hickam's Josh Thurlow series; the first, The Keeper's Son, is freighted with some frankly insipid romance, so I really can't recommend it. Hickam's latest novel, on the other hand, takes all of his first novel's best qualities and cranks them up.
You'll love it!
This novel is well written and thoroughly researched. Andrew Taylor is a fine author. His characterizations are crisp and distinctive, his period details are correct and convincing. Yet there's something lacking.
Edgar Allen Poe is one of the characters, but he's a minor presence and not a particularly memorable one. It's a gimmick, and it's not enough. I hate to say it, but this story drags. The pacing is subdued, the characters are monotonous. All in all, a rather bleak novel.
Kudos to Simon Vance for his fine narration, which is a treat. He's what kept me listening until the end.
Barbara Rosenblatt's narration is brilliant. She really brings Anna Pigeon alive. Nevada Barr is a terrific writer, as most mystery fans know. However, Rosenblatt's inspired narration might just make listening to Barr even better than reading her.
Do I have to give this novel even a single star? If you're expecting an archeological puzzle, don't bother. "Haunted Ground" is more Harlequin romance than ancient mystery. Pathetic characters people contrived settings, stumbling through an improbable plot. The writing itself isn't bad, though Erin Hart does tend to become a bit overwrought at times. A bright spot is Jennifer McMahon's narration -- she possesses an impressive range. However, her talents aren't enough to salvage what is, at heart, nothing more than a suburban bodice-ripper. Halfway through, I found myself finishing characters' sentences in a silly Irish accent. Sadly, it was the only enjoyment I derived from this novel. Fabio should appear on the cover, holding an excavation trowel in one hand and a swooning colleen in the other.
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